Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Any Excuse to Party

I love a good party, and since I'm feeling in a celebratory mood today, I have decided to make two extra appetizers for my Book Club friends who are coming over tonight, even though they are already bringing plenty of appetizers themselves. (Are there ever really enough?) Finger foods are so delicious, and the calories certainly don't count since usually they are eaten standing up...right?

The book club ladies are notorious for their appetites, and they enjoy their wine too. In fact, we rate books using a wine-bottle scale, with 5 wine bottles being the best, 1 the worst. We usually spend the first hour catching up on a month's worth of gossip, eating and sipping wine, then eventually get around to talking about the book sometime after that. The hostess is responsible for making dessert and tonight I made a huge pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust, and marshmallow, sour cream topping. I hope it tastes as good as it looks.

The appetizers I am making are spicy, sweet, sticky, slow baked chicken wings, and a new recipe from my Sunset magazine called Cauliflower Panko Pakoras with Cilantro Mint Dipping Sauce. I love cauliflower, and feel that it is woefully underrepresented at the dinner table. I bought a nice fat one on Sunday at the farmer's market, and am looking forward to trying this new way to prepare it.

I am excited to see my friends tonight. There really is nothing better than good friends, good food, good wine and good books. Heaven!

You can find the recipe for the Cauliflower Panko Pakoras here.

The Panko Pakoras

My chicken wing recipe follows. When it is finished the wings are tender and thickly coated with a sticky, savory taffy-like sauce.

Sticky Wings

3 pounds chicken wings (cut off tips and separate into two pieces)
1 C soy sauce
1/2 C red wine
1/2 C sugar
1 t freshly grated ginger
1/2 t red chili flakes (or to taste)

Preheat oven to 400°.

Place chicken wings on a large roasting pan. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a saucepan and heat over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Pour over wings and toss to combine. Bake for 45 minutes and then turn over and bake for one hour more or until sauce is thick and sticky.

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